The City of Spruce Grove is taking the next step in implementing its vision for Westwind Centre - and it's a big one.
A proposal to develop a $79 million Multi-Use Sport and Event Centre on the property, which is located along Yellowhead Highway and the Century Road interchange, was brought forward to Spruce Grove City Council during a March 27 meeting.
The proposed municipally-owned facility, which is expected to be a significant economic driver for the region, will feature two ice surfaces. A main multi-use seating bowl would accommodate up to 5,300 people and a second community pad would fit up to 200 spectators seated or standing.
But it's about more than just the ice. The centre would bring a state-of-the-art spectator facility to the region designed to host a variety of events, including sporting tournaments, trade shows, craft fairs, conferences, concerts, graduations, memorials, award ceremonies and more.
The concept of a Multi-Use Sport and Event Centre aligns with the City's original vision for the Westwind development to be a major regional commercial, hospitality and entertainment destination. With the community's rapid growth, it also addresses the need for additional ice surfaces as well as space for both local and commercial events.
"Nine years ago the City had a vision of creating a development that would be a destination, an amenity for our city as well as the region," said Spruce Grove Mayor Stuart Houston. "Fast forward to today and we can see that vision becoming closer to a reality. The potential this development has is above and beyond anything we have seen in the past. It will be the largest development in our history."
Now the City will engage with a variety of potential partners such as the provincial government, neighbouring municipalities and private industry to investigate funding options and opportunities.
"The construction of the Multi-Use Sport and Event Centre will be funded through a combination of grants, future developer off-site levies and debenture financing," says Robert Cotterill, City Manager. "The debenture financing will be serviced and repaid by dedicating the municipal portion of property tax revenues received from the build-out of the Westwind Centre development. It is important that we design the funding model so that there is no tax increase on ratepayers in Spruce Grove."
The City has also approached the Government of Alberta for a Community Revitalization Levy or some version thereof for the project.
The event centre is connected to the larger overall development of Westwind Centre that will include office buildings, retailers, restaurants, an entertainment centre, transit park and ride, and residential development.
The Westwind development will generate significant short- and long-term economic impacts and job creation from the initial construction work, which is expected to generate almost 3,300 jobs, to the ongoing centre operations, which will require another 1,200 jobs.
"The combination of the sport and event centre with the broader site development will see $310 million in construction spending," says Houston. "Once the development is complete, we expect the centre to generate $31.5 million per year in spending either in-facility or off-site as a result of people visiting the area."
The next steps will be sharing the concept with the community, refining the design and solidifying partnerships. It is expected city council will vote on whether or not to proceed with the project in January 2018. If the project moves forward, the City plans to have the official opening in the fall of 2020.
Two public presentations about the project will be held on Monday, April 3, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Horizon Stage located at 1001 Calahoo Rd. in Spruce Grove. Space is limited.